A contribution to the evolutionary history of Ethiopian hipparionine horses (Mammalia, Equidae): morphometric evidence from the postcranial skeleton

Raymond L. BERNOR, Robert S. SCOTT & Yohannes HAILE-SELASSIE

en Geodiversitas 27 (1) - Pages 133-158

Published on 31 March 2005

A morphometric analysis of third metapodials and first phalanges of Middle Awash and Hadar hipparions dating from the 6.0-3.0 Ma interval was conducted using two methods. Morphological comparisons using standard metrics were made using: 1) log10 ratio diagrams; 2) size independent variables developed with reference to scaling trends for hipparions in general. Results of these analyses suggest that hipparion diversity during this temporal interval was relatively low. A single dominant gracile lineage of Eurygnathohippus Van Hoepen, 1930, most plausibly derived from the Lothagam (Kenya) species Eurygnathohippus feibeli (Bernor & Harris, 2003), would appear to have persisted throughout this interval and is marked by increases in size with measured change in metapodial and phalangeal morphology. A rarer, more robust form is found in the Ethiopian sample at 4.0 Ma and is morphometrically similar to Eurygnathohippus turkanense Hooijer & Maglio, 1973 from late Miocene horizons of Lothagam. Another smaller form, of uncertain systematic status, appears likely late in the Kada Hadar sequence, c. 3.0 Ma.

Keywords :

Mammalia, Equidae, hipparionine, Ethiopia, Middle Awash, Hadar, postcranials, morphometrics, evolution

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